By now, everyone seems to have an opinion (or a few) on City Harvest Church, Pastor Kong Hee, the Crossover Project and the legion of brainwashed followers. There are a lot of allegations flying around – the main ones being greed (for the leaders) and stupidity (for the followers).
Yesterday, I walked past the newsstands and this case made the front page for every local newspaper. Last checked, we’ve also made most of the International titles and social media looks like it’s about to explode from all the updates about CHC.
That’s pretty epic.
I’m one of those hardcore followers, if you will.
I’ve been in City Harvest Church for the past 15 years and this church, the Pastors, the friends and family, they’ve changed my life. I know that sounds very cultish so let me try to break it down a little. We don’t worship Pastor Kong or any of the leaders and we have no illusions that they’re deities or saints or demigods. On some level, we’re all just a bunch of Christians who believe in a cause and are trying to make a difference in our community. None of us are perfect but we are trying our best to be better and do better for the people around us.
On that same token, having seen all that the Pastors and leaders have done for us over the past 15 years, it’s hard not to love and respect them the way we do. City Harvest Church members may seem fanatic and possibly a little crazy but if you’d just take the time to chat with them a little and hear their stories, you’d maybe understand why we’re this passionate.
There’s no way I’ll be able to summarize everything in a blog post but suffice to say that without this church and its leaders, I wouldn’t be who or where I am today. They’ve been there for me at the lowest points of my life, shown me love and support without asking for anything in return and believed in me when no one else did. For that, I’ll always be grateful and that’s the reason why we sow our lives and time and money into making a difference in someone else’s life.
Come hell or high water, I’m proud to be a City Harvest Church member.
Now, moving on to the allegations.
First of all, what I don’t understand is the vitriol and venom that’s coming from all the people who’ve never given a single cent to the church. Unlike other charities, the church has never once solicited funds from the public and all the money has come in from church members who believe in a cause and gave out of their own free will. Maybe you’re indignant that we’re dumb enough to be bamboozled into giving our money (which is hardly the case), but even if so, does it warrant this outcry from the angry mob?
I mean, I don’t come into your family and lambaste you for how you’re spending your money. If you decide to build your kids a bowling alley in your basement, that’s your right. Or if you decide to splurge on a Breitling for your dad, or a Prada bag for your second grandaunt’s cousin’s daughter, that’s entirely up to you.
Initially, I got really upset at all the inflammatory attacks and veiled derogatory digs popping up on various social media platforms, but at this point, I’m fine taking the hits. I guess if it gives you a sense of moral and intellectual superiority to post your snide remarks and mean jokes, then it’s your prerogative, post away.
Call us brainwashed, call us fools, call us whatever, that’s ok. Sticks and stones, you know.
That being said, I am incredibly encouraged by the show of solidarity and tenacity among the church members I consider my family. And don’t for one moment mistake this loyalty for blind faith. A lot of these so-called fools are some of the brightest minds I have ever met and we’ve done our due diligence by digesting all the facts and allegations. I’ve gone through the MCYS inquiry multiple times, read the news articles, and amassed as much information as I could from all sides.
Do I know every single detail? No. But I know enough to make an informed decision and here’s my take.
I have absolute trust in the fact that none of the money was embezzled for personal gain. I believe in the Crossover Project and there was certainly no intent to deceive, as had been alleged. Pastor Kong and all the other 4 individuals on trial have not breached the trust of the church members.
I make no apologies for giving every dollar that we gave and we will continue to do so knowing that the funds will not be misused.
City Harvest Church is my family. It has been for the last 15 years and I don’t think anything will ever change that.
UPDATED x2 : Innocent Until Proven Guilty